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The Harvest Picnic, Minerva Works, Birmingham, September 2023. Image by Nina Bailie.


A black and white, portrait image of a person standing outside, smiling widely towards the camera. The person wears a dark, patterned t-shirt, and their long hair is pushed back from their face.

Jo is an artist, curator, and educator with a strong desire to heal, restore, and do good in the world.  She creates alternative regenerative cultural and living practices that start with simple acts of growing or sharing food – embodying the cultural specifics of human conviviality. Through building communal practices she is interested in the phenomenology of the making process and imagining new structures for communal living. Often starting with pain or conflict her work gets in between these intersections and uses trauma-informed approaches to remedy and regenerate.

She develops restorative happenings and revolutions that merge ecology and humanity then entangles itself with magic and wildness. Her work materialises through human interaction, through working together “We tend, nurture and grow things”. Placing emphasis on research through practice, learning through doing, interdisciplinary and collaborative exchange. Jo has worked with Grand Union since 2018 and instigated our Collaborative Programme – The Growing Project.

Contact Jo here.

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Matthew works on radical social change projects that span ecology, social and environmental justice, housing, and the remediation of toxicity in public spaces. He holds an MSc from the University of Edinburgh in Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health and has experience in engineering and construction, film production, gardening, and landscape design.

Contact Matthew here.

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A landscape image of a young woman with long ginger hair looking at the camera. She stands in front of a grey-coloured shutter and glass shop front.

Beth graduated from the University of Birmingham with a distinction grade MA in Art History and Curation, researching the role of gender in the formation of art historical hierarchies and the ideas of craft and utility in art. She also completed a BA in history at UoB. Beth is interested in social and object-based histories and archival work, particularly related to folk customs and the supernatural.

Beth co-curated ‘the Age of Dreamers is Over’ at Grand Union in 2022, as part of her MA.

Contact Beth here.

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Anneka provides access support work at Grand Union and is a writer, editor, and curator based in Birmingham. She works for art publisher Anomie as a Project Editor and contributes to publications including Art Quarterly, 1000 Words, Burlington Contemporary, and Photomonitor. Recent experimental writing commissions include those for Photoworks+, Grain Projects, TACO!, and Fire Station Artists’ Studios. Anneka is an independent curator currently working with Coventry Biennial. She spent four years as Co-ordinator and then Director at New Art West Midlands (CVAN) and spent six years as Editorial Manager of contemporary art magazine this is tomorrow. Anneka has worked at galleries including Tate Modern, Ikon, The New Art Gallery Walsall, and Wolverhampton Art Gallery, and has curated exhibitions at Grand Union, Birmingham, and KH7 ArtSpace, Aarhus, Denmark among others.

A black and white portrait image of a person standing outside, smiling directly at the camera. The person wears a dark coloured button up shirt and hoop earrings, their shoulder length hair is parted down the middle.

Cheryl is Director and one of the founding members of Grand Union, having successfully developed it from being run voluntarily by a collective of artists and curators, to an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and CIO.

She is now leading the organisation through a major capital project that will transform Junction Works, a beautiful mid-nineteenth century, Grade II listed canal building in Digbeth, into a vibrant arts venue. Cheryl has a range of experience in curating and project management and has been a key collaborator in developing initiatives such as Digbeth First Friday and Birmingham Art Map.

She is now a member of West Midlands Combined Authority Cultural Leadership Board and part of the advisory group for Contemporary Other.

Contact Cheryl here.

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Rebecca is the director and lead facilitator of Be Noble Workshop and works collaboratively with Grand Union.

Rebecca has extensive experience supporting people with lived experience of the criminal justice system, substance misuse, mental health, and domestic violence. The support offered to the Minerva group is both practical and emotional.

‘I love working with Grand Union and the Minerva women. Grand Union is truly a special place offering healing in nature with friendship, understanding, and opportunity for all.’

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Hannah is an artist, curator and d/Deaf activist, originally from Leicester. Having previously worked within the exhibitions team at Nottingham Contemporary and the programme team at Wysing Arts Centre, Hannah now works as co-programme director at Grand Union.

In 2020-2021, Hannah completed a curatorial residency at Wysing Arts Centre as part of Future Curators Network – a programme supporting the career development of D/deaf and Disabled Curators in partnership with DASH.

Committed to the long-term application of accessibility practices within the arts and working rights of artists, Hannah has worked with Aural Diversity, British Art Network, Collective Text, Deafroots, National Gallery, London, and Voices in the Gallery.

Hannah currently sits on the board for a-n Artists Information Company and Collective Text and the advisory panel for Two Queens Gallery, Leicester.

You can contact Hannah here.

Past team members and associate curators

Hannah Adereti
Aaisha Akhtar
Michelle Bowen
Kirsty Clarke
Lauren Davies
Tim Dixon
Seán Elder
Anneka French
Marialaura Ghidini
Reuben Liebeskind
Alex Lockett (GU Founder)

Lucy Lopez
Mat Jenner
Kim McAleese
Oliver McCall
Jenine McGaughran
Alice O’Rourke
Laura Onions
Adwoa Owusu-Barnieh
George Vasey